CONTACT: Chris Lewis, Director, Songbook Academy
317-844-9446 /

CONTACT: Anne O'Brien, The Center for the Performing Arts
317-819-3518 /


High school singers from across the country are encouraged to apply

CARMEL –The Great American Songbook Foundation, founded by Grammy-nominated vocalist, Michael Feinstein, announces the opening of the 2016 application process for The Songbook Academy™, a music and performance intensive for high school students! The application is available online at until March 25, 2016.

Now in its seventh year, the Songbook Academy™ is a summer music intensive for young singers who have an interest in the American Songbook. Students who love the music of classic Broadway shows, jazz, and popular music have the life-changing opportunity to work with music industry pros, Broadway performers, and educators from the top university music and theatre programs in the country to learn about this uniquely American music.

“The Songbook Academy™ is a transformative experience. It is a place where young people can come and learn about the Great American Songbook in an intensive way. We spend every moment of that time sharing, educating, and uplifting in a way that we feel will change the lives of our students forever," said Michael Feinstein, founder of the Songbook Foundation and Songbook Academy™.


The Songbook Academy™ was created to provide an opportunity for young people to experience firsthand this uniquely American music and its cultural significance. The Songbook Academy™ is designed to be a collaborative, rewarding, and fun experience for all participants. Students will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, and master classes with celebrity performers, music industry professionals, and educators from top college arts programs from across the country. The week’s events will culminate in a live show on July 23, 2016, at the Palladium in Carmel, IN, where award winners will be selected.

Applications are judged by a panel of music educators and industry professionals, who will provide written feedback to every applicant.  Approximately 40 students will be invited to attend the Songbook Academy™ week in Carmel, IN, July 16-23, where they will be mentored and further evaluated.  Participants will be eligible for various recognition opportunities and awards.  

Academy Mentors

World-class performers have served as coaches and mentors for the Songbook Academy™. These talented individuals have shared a wealth of encouragement, inspiration, and performance techniques with students, for an amazing once in a lifetime experience.  Past Songbook Academy™ mentors have included two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominee, Michael Feinstein; Tony Award nominee, Laura Osnes; Two-time Grammy nominee, Jane Monheit; Two-time Grammy winner and Emmy winner, Sylvia McNair; multiple Grammy winner and member of Manhattan Transfer, Cheryl Bentyne; Catherine Walker, University of Michigan, Musical Theatre Department; Kathleen Hacker, University of Indianapolis, Music Department.

6 Easy Steps to Apply:

  1. Visit to read official Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions
  2. Click Application Button
  3. Register and complete online application
  4. Upload color photo
  5. Upload YouTube videos of two contrasting song performances
  6. Submit application fee of $50.00

If selected to participate in the Songbook Academy, a program fee of $700.00 will be due on or before June 6, 2016. The program fee includes:

  • Cost of supervised accommodations in a Butler University residence hall;
  • All meals on and off campus;
  • Commercial transportation during the week; and
  • Participation in all workshops, master classes, mentor sessions and social activities throughout week

The program fee does not include travel expenses to and from Carmel, IN, for the Songbook Academy week.

For questions, students can reach Songbook Foundation staff at 317-844-9446 or by email at

Recognition and Awards

All Songbook Academy participants will receive:

  • Songbook Scholar recognition
  • College recommendation letter from the Songbook Foundation
  • Letter recognizing the achievement of each Songbook Scholar sent to their high school
  • Membership in Songbook Academy alumni network

All Songbook Academy participants will be eligible for the following awards:

Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador Award will receive the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to perform with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein. The Youth Ambassador will serve for one year and will have opportunities to perform throughout the year. Past Youth Ambassador performance opportunities have included:

  • Multiple appearances with Michael Feinstein
  • Carnegie Hall
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center
  • Kennedy Center
  • PBS appearance with Michael Feinstein, Darren Criss, Aaron Tveit, Kelli O'Hara
  • Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Gala – with Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Johnny Mathis, Jimmy Webb, for example
  • National Anthem at NFL game
  • Appearances at Birdland Jazz Club, Feinstein's/54 Below, and other major cabaret venues
  • Appearance with Pasadena Pops

Songbook Inspiration Award will receive a performance opportunity with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, to be coordinated by the Songbook Foundation.

Songbook Celebration Award will receive a performance opportunity with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, to be coordinated by the Songbook Foundation.

Outstanding Achievement Awards and Mentor Recognition Awards


Michael Feinstein founded the Great American Songbook Foundation in 2007 in order to preserve, promote, and perpetuate the music of the Great American Songbook. The mission of the Foundation is to inspire and educate by celebrating the Great American Songbook. The work of the Foundation includes:

  • High School Songbook Academy™
  • Educational programming
  • Library, Archives, and Gallery Exhibits
  • Great American Songbook Hall of Fame

To learn more, visit:


Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.

More than simply a performer, Feinstein has received national recognition for his commitment to celebrate America’s popular song and preserve its legacy for the next generation. In 2007, he founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, dedicated to celebrating the art form and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual Songbook Academy for high school students. Michael serves on the Library of Congress’ National Recording Preservation Board; an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America’s sound recording heritage.

Feinstein serves as Artistic Director of the Center for the Performing Arts, a $170 million, three-theater venue in Carmel, Indiana, which opened in January 2011. The Center is home to the Great American Songbook Foundation Archives and museum. Starting in 2010, he became the director of the Jazz and Popular Song Series at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2013, he replaced the late Marvin Hamlisch as the lead conductor of the Pasadena Pops.

Feinstein can be seen on PBS in his award winning series, Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook. He can also be heard on NPR in his current show, Song Travels with Michael Feinstein. His latest book, The Gershwins and Me, which is combined with a new CD of Gershwin standards performed with Cyrus Chestnut at the piano, was released by Simon & Schuster in October 2012. His latest album, A Michael Feinstein Christmas, was released in 2014.

Media links

Watch highlight reel of Songbook Academy:

Watch video of 2015 Winner, Lucas DeBard, Perform:

Watch video of 2012-2015 Winners Performing at the Kennedy Center:

Read ‘Michael Feinstein and Broadway’s Laura Osnes teach new generation’  Indy Star:

Read ‘Saving the Songbook’ – Wall Street Journal:


The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation is to inspire and educate by celebrating the Great American Songbook.

The Great American Songbook Foundation
One Center Green - Palladium | Carmel, IN
317.844.9446 |

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